Elmore County wrestlers put together a strong performance over the weekend at the AHSAA South Super Section in Montgomery. The Panthers finished in sixth place in Class 1A-5A while qualifying seven athletes for this week’s state championships in Huntsville.
“I was really pleased with the weekend,” Elmore County coach Jared Jones said. “Everyone on the team got at least one pin. We were hoping to get eight to state if we had a really good day but we still got seven so I’m pleased with that.”
Chayanne Sanchez and Jacob Taunton both finished in third place for the highest finishes of the competition for the Panthers. Sanchez went in as the fourth seed at 145 pound and had a chance to participate in the first-place match but a one-point decision went against him in the semifinals.
It did not take long for Sanchez to recover from the defeat, winning the final two matches in the consolation bracket with pins. He finished with four pins on the weekend, improving his record to 45-7 on the season.
“I really wanted first place so that was tough to bounce back,” Sanchez said. “I was telling myself to keep my head up and that’s what I did. I won the match.”
Taunton, who wrestled at 126, shook off a decision loss in the semifinals as well before winning his final two matches to earn the third-place medal. He was happy with the result but he was more impressed with the team’s performance as a whole.
“We have gotten a whole lot better since November,” Taunton said. “I can’t explain how happy I am with the team. This is the most we’ve ever taken so we’re going to put in some work and try to get to the top.”
Elmore County got contributions from all 11 of its wrestlers at the competition and finished with 148 points for the sixth-place finish. On top of the two third-place wrestlers, the Panthers added two fourth-place, two sixth-place and one seventh-place finish.
“It means a lot to the program,” Jones said. “I’m more impressed with our team finishing sixth than the two guys we had finishing third. Scoring 148 points and getting to scoreboard watch with the team was fun. Finishing sixth out of 33 teams is a big deal and we all realize that.”
Garrett Moseley, who leads the team in individual wins, finished in fourth place at 195, earning 20 points for his team. Moseley advanced to the semifinals with two first period pins but had his toughest match of the season up next.
Alexandria’s Chrstian Knop, who is 67-0 on the season, pinned Moseley in just 32 seconds. It was the quickest defeat of the season for Moseley.
“The first loss we knew would be tough,” Jones said. “We were a little disappointed in the second loss though. Garrett had him on his back but couldn’t get the pin.”
Moseley won his first match in the consolation bracket to set up the third-place match with Montevallo’s Rankin Allen. After taking control in the first period, Moseley was pinned 17 seconds into the second period and finished in fourth place.
“That could really motivate him not, especially when he knows now how that guy wrestles,” Jones said. “After the meet, we were all eating and Garrett was already pointing out some things he thought he could do better.”
Moseley still qualified for the state meet in Huntsville this weekend, along with Taunton and Sanchez. Jeffrey Purcell, Matt Brown, Stone Svencer and Matthew Thornton all qualified as well.